Cocktails and vacation go together like milk and cookies. Friday Harbor’s fancy firewater culture is a cocktail connoisseur’s paradise with abundant, unique establishments offering handcrafted cocktails in beautiful settings, often using local, seasonal, and at times foraged ingredients. We here at the Earthbox Inn & Spa undertook the exasperating task to find the best cocktails in Friday Harbor on beautiful San Juan Island for you, but you should definitely come on up and double check our work, especially because most places change their menus with the seasons.
The No. 11 at Back Door Kitchen
Nestled behind a nursery in a gorgeous garden, Back Door offers seasonal global fare with local ingredients and 12 creative signature cocktails. On cocktail testing day our vote went to No.11: Hendrick’s Gin muddled w/Thai basil leaves, fresh lime, and a splash of simple syrup. The fresh lime and spicy Thai basil make for a very refreshing, not-too-sweet aperitif.
The Lavender Lemon Margarita at COHO
The adorable farm-to-table restaurant COHO, in the heart of Friday Harbor, serves local Pacific Northwest cuisine and is one of the few places open on all major holidays. We loved their Lavender Lemon Margarita, made with La Gritona Reposada tequila and poured over a scoop of house-made lavender lemon sorbet. A lovely palate cleanser doubling as dessert.
The Bloody Mary at Friday’s Crabhouse
This outdoor, self-serve restaurant right by the harbor is one of the best places to watch the ferry and seaplanes come in. The sunny roof-top bar is known by us locals for the best pours in town. We have our after work Bloody Mary’s here.
The Salted Caramel Martini at Downriggers
This comfortable, spacious seafood restaurant on the waterfront with ample outside seating is perfect for larger groups. We love their rich seasonal cocktails instead of dessert and especially on a rainy day. The Salted Caramel Martini is to die for.
Bartender’s Choice at the Restaurant at Friday Harbor House
Situated on a bluff over Friday Harbor, this restaurants prides itself on serving the freshest fare from sea and land. In the summer the outdoor, afternoon Raw Bar is a must-do. All their cocktails feature house infusions and syrups. Their bar looks like a kitchen pantry. When here, we ask the bartender to make us something good, like a craft cocktail with house infused cucumber rose gin.